On Wednesday, June 12, Republican congresswoman Martha McSally from Arizona took on the debate over whether sleeveless dresses are “appropriate attire” to wear on the House floor by simply showing up in a sleeveless dress herself. But it wasn’t just a silent protest. Instead, McSally made it clear her choice of outfit was no coincidence. “I want to point out that I’m standing here in my professional attire, which happens to be a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes,” McSally said in her address.
In early July, CBS reported that a female journalist was turned away from entering the Speaker’s Lobby in the House – and that she was told the reason she wasn’t being allowed entry was that her shoulders were exposed. Speaker Paul Ryan recently reiterated a seemingly murky rule from 2015 which states that “members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House, however brief their appearance on the floor may be,” but critics say there is no written or formal language specifically banning sleeveless dresses.
This isn’t the first time McSally has taken on a dress-code requirement that specifically impacts women. In 2002, the retired United States Air Force Colonel sued the Department of Defense over a dress code that required servicewomen stationed in Saudi Arabia to wear an abaya – a traditional Muslim robe covering the body – when they left the base. McSally won the case in a 93-0 ruling. Keep reading to see how social media reacted to McSally’s simple yet powerful protest against the rule, which some are lauding as heroic:
[email protected] (R-AZ) weighed in on the dress code for lawmakers after her remarks on the House Floor this morning https://t.co/vUfBgg5OWk pic.twitter.com/eGxKG1yKb5
– Roll Call (@rollcall) July 12, 2017
AZ Rep. Martha McSally with some dress code commentary on the House floor a few minutes ago: pic.twitter.com/cierlS75ZC
– Alexis Levinson (@alexis_levinson) July 12, 2017
Worth noting that today’s high in DC will be 94. 98 tomorrow https://t.co/EIK6VR7Oei
– Timothy Cama (@Timothy_Cama) July 12, 2017
Thank U @RepMcSally from American women: we don’t need @SpeakerRyan “help” 2 dress appropriately! HE can return 2 ’50s; we’re moving fwd.
– Marcy (@marcywriter) July 12, 2017
You go, Congresswoman. https://t.co/0OO0Q9A7Tr
– Titleixbaby (@Titleixbaby) July 12, 2017
Kudos to her for putting Speaker Ryan’s double standards on the record.
– Laura Park (@ElbowRoomier) July 12, 2017